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The term Oberkirchenrat has several meanings:

  1. A person with the official title "Oberkirchenrat / -ratsin". This usually heads a department / department or unit in the highest service authority of a regional church , alternatively the department heads, as department heads or department heads, have the title of Oberlandeskirchenrat (e.g. regional church office Hanover ), they are often referred to as members of the regional church office .
  2. The church government building in which 1. his / her office is located.
  3. Short for the college of the upper church council , which represents the cooperative church leadership (alternative designation in some regional churches: leading spiritual office or church leadership ).
  4. The managing or supreme authority as the regional church administration. It usually forms the church leadership together with the regional bishop and the regional synod. Other names for it are the regional church office, church chancellery, church administration or consistory .
  5. Historically, there were upper church councils as departments of a state ministry. In Baden at least in the 19th century there was a Catholic upper church council in addition to the Protestant church.

Common abbreviations for Oberkirchenrat

The Oberkirchenrat is abbreviated as OKR in Mecklenburg , Oldenburg , Austria (AB) , Austria (HB) and Württemberg or as EOK (Evangelischer Oberkirchenrat) in Baden and formerly in Old Prussia .

Oberkirchenrat as an official title

The upper church councils are church officials , often lawyers or pastors. The title Oberkirchenrat denotes the highest level of function in the civil service of some Protestant churches. They are responsible for the leadership of the church, they are responsible for the synod / regional synod . As head of department, you are responsible for your area internally and externally.

Example of the division of departments in the Evangelical Church in Württemberg (in brackets the occupation of the current incumbent):
  1. Theology , mission , ecumenism (pastor)
  2. School and Education (Teacher)
  3. Church training and staff (pastors)
  4. General law (lawyer)
  5. Service law (lawyer)
  6. Finance and Information Technology (Forest Scientist)
  7. Community supervision ( parish ) and construction (lawyer)
  8. Diakonie ( General Manager of the Diakonisches Werk in Württemberg (DWW)) (Pastor)
The individual departments are divided into sections. The leaders mostly have the title of church councilor or senior church councilor (e.g. Hanover regional church office). This title does not apply if these persons change to another position after the end of their (temporary) service in the Oberkirchenrat.

Oberkirchenrat as a building

Entrance to the former Old Prussian EOK, since 2007 the seat of the Evangelical Church Office for the Bundeswehr , Berlin.
Oberkirchenrat of the Evangelical Church in Gänsheidestrasse in Stuttgart

The Oberkirchenrat (OKR) of the Evangelical Church in Württemberg is located at Gänsheidestrasse 4, Stuttgart. The Evangelical Upper Church Council (EOK) of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union (EKapU; from 1953 Evangelical Church of the Union , EKU) was located at Jebensstraße 3, Berlin-Charlottenburg, since 1912. From 1951 it was called the church chancellery and moved to Hanover at the beginning of 2007, after the EKU was merged into the Union of Evangelical Churches (2004).

Oberkirchenrat as a collegiate body

The upper church council as a collegial body takes (far-reaching) decisions of the church leadership mostly in the departmental conference (college). The regional bishop belongs to the college as head . Other people are called in as reporters if necessary. Decisions of the college can be reversed by the synod or it can be sued before the church administrative court (if available in the regional church).

Other names for the administration of a regional church are the regional church office (for example: Evangelical Church in the Rhineland ) and Consistory (for example: Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia ).

Oberkirchenrat as the highest church authority

The Evangelical Upper Church Council (EOK) in Berlin was from 1850 to 1951 the highest administrative authority of the Prussian Evangelical Church (from 1922 Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union ). In other Protestant regional churches, such as the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Mecklenburg , the highest church authority was referred to as the Oberkirchenrat.

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